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Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • j06j06 Posts: 90
    edited February 2012

    Front pads were replaced twice @ 25K and 50K miles.

    Replaced the rear one two weeks ago @60K…;

    Is there any way to find out how much pad left without taking off the wheel & caliper?
  • Dealers don't always use factory parts, especially if they can buy non-factory parts cheaper but charge the same. I noticed this when I had a coolant flush and fill performed by the dealer; they used non-Toyota coolant. So it is possible they used non-factory brake pads for your brake repair.

    When I performed my own brake pad replacement, I went to the dealer's parts counter and purchased Toyota factory pads. I didn't have any squealing problems.

    Now if you are driving in the rain and park the car, there will be a light coating of rust that develops on the rotors. That makes a slight scraping sound when you first use the brakes, but in my experience, that goes away after the third time you apply the brakes.
  • tsotsitsotsi Posts: 98
    Sounds to me that you should ask your dealer service rep more questions. Highlander rear brake pads are a lot smaller than the front pads -- normal in cars with a heavy engine in front -- and in my case the rear pads needed replacing before the fronts. The dealer started bugging me about needing a brake job when the brakes were only about half worn, at 30,000 miles. I actually did the job myself at about 70,000 miles and the pads were pretty thin at that point.

    I can get a rough idea of how much pad is left with the wheels on, but it might be better to take the wheel off and use a flashlight. There is a warning system on each corner that makes a scraping noise when there is only a millimeter or two left.

    The dealers push brake jobs because they are very profitable, and if you call them out on not being completely accurate about wear, they can always use the "better safe than sorry" excuse. They also always claim the rotors need turning or replacing even when they actually don't.

    Of course some dealers may be giving you honest service so it is always better to get some help if you are not sure how to check the brakes yourself.
  • jrfierojrfiero Posts: 123
    wwest, thanks for the reply (copied below the line since it's been so long).
    I typed a reply previously, but it was lost in the ether before I posted it.
    Briefer one here.

    I didn't notice the Trac or VSC activating, and I think I would have.

    Your explanation makes sense, because I checked and cleared the code within a couple drive cycles (maybe only one), so it may have cleared itself if I hadn't. In any case, it hasn't returned, with various driving conditions and speeds since (but no snow!).

    Good to know about the MAF/IAT throwing a code for only one bank lean, 'cause that seems like an easy fix.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----------
    " the snow..."

    Did you happen to notice the Trac system or VSC activating?? More than once or twice..?

    On the RX or HL without DBW engine dethrottling during a trac or VSC event is accomplisheded via EFI fuel starvation. No way to close the throttle plate so the HOT oxygen sensors see PURE oxygen for brief period(s). That appears to somehow have an adverse impact on those sensors for some period after and a CEL is not altogether unusual.

    Generally clears within a few drive cycles.

    I have had instances of dirty MAF/IAT sensors throwing a diagnostic of only one lean bank. So I would first clean the MAF/IAT sensor elements.
  • j06j06 Posts: 90
    I got fooled one time. They charge $250 for the brake service. Pads cost $75. Never again … I also own 2009 corolla now 17K miles. At 15K they advised me to change the front pads. I declined it. I will not change it until I hear the warning noise.

    Like their 30K, 60K service for $500 with discount.. Oil+filter change, Tire rotation, Transmission fluid service, Coolant service, Air filter, Cabin filter, all fluid service, re-torque drive shaft boots.. Plus so many checks… I am sure with an independent mechanic I can get all these done for $250-300. I feel safe doing it with the dealer.
  • I live in Virginia. Once when I stayed in Florida a month, my brakes had a "grinding" noise when I first started out. I had the brakes pulled and they didn't see anything wrong. My car was sitting a couple of days near the ocean between drives. They said it could have been the moisture and resultant rust buildup between drives. After they pulled the wheels, the noise definitly lessened; I think the road dirt fell out but I still had a bit of initial grinding when I started out as long as I was in Florida and leaving the car sitting longer than I do when at home.
    BTW: I learned this lesson the hard way too. If they tell you to change your brake rotors, I ask them to write on the work order the actual measurements of each rotor and intitial it. I tell them that after they've "certified" in writing the measurements, I'll make a follow up appt. later if needed. Amazingly, the measurements were fine and the language was changed from "need to change" to "a good idea to change".
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,785

    Your post describes an odd phenomenon that I experienced many years ago on a Mercedes.

    Brake disks are fairly soft cast and machined steel or iron and have no surface coatings (which would impede their ability to act as a brake surface. They are similar to rail-road tracks in softness and propensity to rust; take a look at a rail track which has not been used for some time and hence becomes very rusty.

    When the disks are exposed to salt air, the exposed portions of the disks corrode and develop small pits in their surface. In the non exposed area under the brake pads, the metal remains bright and clear of pits. Subsequently when you apply the brakes there is a very marked grabbing on the rusted surfaces interspersed by the smooth surfaces.

    Unfortunately, even a comparatively short exposure to salt can result in the surface pits extending quite deep (millimetre or more) into the metal.

    In my case, the vehicle had been left un-driven for three weeks after being driven on salted roads. In that time, the deepest pits were 3mm deep. There was no prospect of recovering the disks by grinding or skimming and replacement of all four disks was necessary. I was not happy but could see the physical evidence. Indeed, pulling one wheel off, I could see where the brake pad had shielded the disk and the depth of the pits in unprotected surfaces.

    I suspect that you might have seen the same phenomenon.


  • jrfierojrfiero Posts: 123
    "Front pads were replaced twice 25K and 50K miles."

    Sounds like your dealer had a boat payment due.
  • j06j06 Posts: 90

    No more... Last time recommendation was 'need new battery'.. price $189 with installation.. Battery cost $139.
  • that's exactly what happens in my case. As I"m driving it goes away, but it's still very loud as I'm backing out of my driveway or pulling out of work. It only happens when it rains or snows and I park it and then drive it hours later.

    Scraping? Mine squeal.
  • I have 05 HL with 103K miles and it is starting to thump whenever it decelerates. Is it the transmission? Also, what is the difference between a service and a maintenance?

  • 05highlander0505highlander05 Posts: 89
    edited March 2012
    After the pulley recall was performed by my dealership recently my car has had some new problems I've never had before. It takes a much longer time for the engine to start/crank over when I have it parked for a long period of time.  I also hear some type of clunking sound coming from the engine at times while the engine is trying to start.

    Any ideas of what I should check or do?
  • presam44presam44 Posts: 1
    Hey Everyone,

    I have a 2005 highlander and when I am going over 60 my car starts to sway really bad. I tap my brake and it decreases.

    The dealership is saying that the rear axle carriage assembly needs to be replaced and that will cost about 1500 in just parts- I do not know if the dealership is just taking advantage of my lack of knowledge.

    Does anyone have the same problem or do you know of a cheaper solution

  • moonlight293moonlight293 ILPosts: 23
    Is the swaying motion a recent event or has it always been that way?
  • On the last oil change my dealer recommended that I change the timing belt. I am noticing that it's taking longer and longer for the engine to turn over so I assume it's the timing belt. Should I do it now or wait until 90k as the manual states?
  • took my 04 highlander fwd 54,600 miles in for Va. state inspection at the toyota dealer, it passed, however they wanted to show me problems they found. ball joint leaking on dr side only $320.00 with the alignment, said it was'nt leaking to the point to prevent car from passing the inspection also the rear valve cover gasket is leaking they failed to give me a printout price, p steering fluid is black they also want to flush the p brake fluid @ $114.95 each. nothen eles wrong mechanicly except the side of the dr leather seat at seat control is split in several places was told by dealer and the uphulstery shop this is common problem with this leather seat as toyota used a thin vinal in this area $275.00 to to repair with thicker vinal. is vehecle at the point where things are starting to go bad and need replacing has anyone eles had simuler problems? see several 2013 are being redesigned thinking about going new aswell comments please thanks to all
  • I recently bought a new V6 Highlander Limited FWD. Car was manufactured Jan 2012 in Princeton, IN. On my way home from the dealer I noticed that while going around a corner in either direction at low speed, the steering or front suspension would make a sudden clunk or popping noise. This happens inconsistently on an average of 1 occurrence out of every about 10 times you go around a corner. It can happen at any speed below 30 mph at any steering angle in either direction. I also noticed after driving through a heavy rain storm that the clunk noise disappeared for a few days. Took the car back to the dealer and they replaced the intermediate shaft with around 500 miles on the odo. The steering was smooth thereafter for about 250 miles and the exact same clunking ghost returned. I am very disappointed that steering parts on my brand new expensive Toyota was already replaced and I still have a problem with it. Toyota Corporate CS referred me to the dealer to resolve. I do not want to return my car to the dealer as a test dummy and have them replacing parts until they find the faulty part by accident.

    Has anyone experienced the same issue or know about a TSB for this issue? I would greatly appreciate any feedback. I am sure there must be more HL out their that rolled off the same assembly line around the same time with the same issue.

    Thank you!
  • fiosfios Posts: 1
    I have the same issue. steering pops when turning - mostly when making right turns. intermediate shaft was replaced. the popping frequency reduced. it pops more often when its cold outside. There was a TSB for the previous years but i havent seen any for this year.
    I hear that some had to replace the whole steering box cause thats where the popping is coming from. if they cant fix it, use the lemon law. im thinking about it.

    my car was built in indiana.
  • mailmanronmailmanron Posts: 9
    I'm starting to hear a thump, thump sound from the rear of my 09 Highlander Limited V6 front wheel drive with 30,000 miles. Can't see anything wrong with the tires. Surely the rear wheel bearings can't be going out...can they??
  • rhodnettrhodnett Posts: 1
    I have the same car and the same problem, plus mine won't hold a true straight path without constantly jiggering the steering wheel to stay in the center of straight lanes.
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